Venezuela approves Veba joining Orinoco venture

Feb 18, 1997 01:00 AM

Feb. 5, 1997 Venezuela's Council of Ministers has approved Veba Oil's participation in joint venture between Mobil and PDVSA subsidiary Lagoven exploiting extra-heavy crude reserves in the Orinoco Tar Belt, the Venezuelan Ministry of Information said. "We are expecting to raise the volume of bitumen and converted crude through this participation," said Information Minister Fernando Egaa. The addition of Veba will raise output from an original 100,000 bpd to 120,000 bpd from the Orinoco tar belt. The original $ 2.3 billion Lagoven/Mobil venture was approved by the government on December 18 1996. The extra-heavy crude has a gravity of eight API and is located in the Cerro Negro area of the Orinoco Tar Belt in the south-east of the country. The consortium plans to increase the value of the crude by converting it to 16 API in a coking plant based in Jose on the Caribbean coast. The process will be completed by refining the synthesised crude in Mobil's Chalmette refinery in Louisiana, United States. The partners hope to market the products in the Gulf of Mexico and the eastern coast of the United States. The 35-year agreement is due to start production in 1999.

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